At 77+ years of age, it often baffles me at how fast time flies by. During my active work days (1964 - 2008) I frequently felt that time was moving fast in my life. But, boy, now in retirement since 2008 the time train seems to be moving ever faster down the rails. Of course, I'm moving sighnificantly slower these days, which may well be the key to my sense of fast movement. In addition to old age slowing things down, my steadily failing health keeps me getting less and less productive day by day. Sleeping one to two hours nightly leaves me drowsy and unable to get much work done during the day. Unrelenting pain from the neuoropathy distracts and limits the ability to focus on the work needing to be done each day. All these and other dynamics in my life at the moment temp me greatly to throw in the towel and give up attempting to write on the BIC commentary series.
But the sense of calling and the long term objective of this work absolutely will not allow me to become a "glass half empty" kind of person. The sense of divine calling to serve others is a conviction that continuously grips my life and outlook. Added to that is the profound sense of joy coming out of making new, rich discoveries from the biblical text every time I work on research and writing. The Christian scriptures nourish and encourage me always. The deeper I probe their depths, the less I understand of their deepest meaning. And the greater is the challenge to go into an increasingly deeper commitment to the Lord. Something that I need to do moment by moment.
I'm just about finished with the first four chapters of commentary on the letter of Paul to the Romans. It's taken an extra long amount of time largely due to the unbelievable profundity of ideas in these later passages. Plus, I've also had to do extensive computer troubleshooting and repair on both my systems, and especially on the router/LAN network. But things are moving along pretty smoothly now. Hopefully in the next few weeks I can post this material down through the end of chapter four of Romans so that you can catch a glimpse into the incredible riches of these beginning chapters of Romans. Stay tuned.
- ► 2016 (12)
Saturday, March 24, 2018
Finally after much travail and slow as cold molasses progress, the volume 9 BIC commentary is advancing at a step the Romans commentary with 156 pages of commentary on chapters two and three of Romans. It is now posted at cranfordville.com under the BIC commentary, volume 09, section 01:Rom 2:1-3:20.
The central theme of these two chapters of scripture text is "sin." They continue the discussion of a pagan world and God turning loose of it, which is found in 1:18-32. But in chapters two and three the focus is upon the religious person who feels himself superior to these pagans because of his religious habits. Such postures constitute sin which brings down the wrath of God.
Paul begins with an emphasis upon God's wrath on Judgment Day (2:1-11). Doing the Law rather than possessing it is what matters before God (2:12-16). Even some pagans have a sense of morality matching that in the Torah. This pericope slides the discussion on to the main target of elitism: the pious Jew who felt secure before God because of his having been circumcised and having possession of God's Torah. First in 2:25-29, stress is given about genuine circumcision verses physical circumcision. Then in 3:1-20, the religious situation of the Jewish people is presented. It climaxes with the contention that the ground before God's throne is level for both Gentile and Jew. God will treat both the same way. His wrath will fall on all who ignore His demands -- both Jew and Gentile alike.
The discussion on sin will continue into chapters four, five, and six, but with different angles being presented. Paul never gives a specific definition of sin. Instead, he paints a dramatic 3 dimensional portrait of sin as both a deadly disease impacting us inwardly and also leading to misbehavior in what we do and say. Sin touches humanity both inwardly and outwardly.
This perspective stands in strong contrast to most of humanity's ideas about sin. We usually stress only deeds and then seek to water down the seriousness of our favorite sinful deeds. In the process we ignore the critical inner issue of sin's stranglehold grip on our life inside out. The apostle had come to the realization of sin as a malicious virus saturating our inner self. That problem must be solved first, and then the outward behavior can be solved.
In these first six chapters of Romans you will find the most detailed discussion of sin and evil anywhere in the entire Bible. It deserves our most careful attention. Understanding sin from the apostle's perspective will unlock doors of fresh, correct understanding of the cross / resurrection, how to live the Christian life biblically, and what to anticipate on Judgment Day and beyond.
The file containing the commentary on chaps. 2 and 3 is formatted in the pdf format. Your computer should have a pdf reader installed on it; most come with one pre-installed these days. If not, I recommend the Adobe Acrobat Reader which is free at Adobe.com. Caution! The version of the pdf file used is the current one. PDF Readers that are several year old most likely will not load this file.
Monday, June 19, 2017
LIFE JOURNEY IN MINISTRY:
A Curious Adventure into Unexpected Places
Posted now at cranfordville.com in the bio section of the website is the homepage for the latest project sparked by a commitment to present the story of ministry over my life from 1941 through 2017. I've entitled it LIFE JOURNEY IN MINISTRY. The project, when completed, will present my life story in a) video clips (3 parts of about 10 minutes each); b) Power Point Presentation format (14 slides); c) PDF file containing sound clips and narrative texts; and d) PDF file containing only narrative texts. The two pdf files also contain the Adobe 'sticky notes' which explain several of the pictures in the slides.
God has done countless unexpected things in the over half century of Gospel ministry both in the US and outside it in Europe and Central America. Virtually none of them could I have even imagined as a youngster growing up in rural west Texas.
My hope is that this story provides readers with encouragement and inspiration to just turn loose and let God take you wherever He chooses. You will never regret giving him control over your life.
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
The first chapter of Romans in the BIC volume 9 is now posted and available as a 120 page commentary on vv. 16-32. This is the first segment of the commentary on the entire letter of Paul to the church at Rome. The pdf file is available at cranfordville.com in the Biblical Insights Commentary series:
Click on volume 9 in order to gain access to this pdf file. When Paul lays out the details of τὸ εὐαγγέλιον at the beginning of the letter body in verse 16, he begins by painting the dark picture of the depravity of rebellious humanity. It's an exceedingly dark picture that is presented. But it is also essential for good news as τὸ εὐαγγέλιον takes on its meaning with this backdrop and foundation. The apostle gives a portrait not just of depravity in his day but depravity across the centuries of human history, including our own. Along with his original readers in the ancient city of Rome, we desperately need to hear this message in our world today.
Tuesday, January 17, 2017
BIC Volume 9: Rom. 1:1-7, Praescriptio
The 38 page commentary in pdf format on the first seven verses of Paul's Letter to the Romans is now available online in the Biblical Insights Commentary series in volume nine at cranfordville.com.
Paul's opening of the letter of introduction to the Christian community at Rome is both traditional and highly creative. Traditional in that he follows his standard format in the Praescriptio that is found in all his letters. And this represents a creative adaptation of the standard Greek letter Praescriptio found in thousands of extent letters from this era.
.But very creative in the expansion elements that are developed off the core expressions. They center on the εὐαγγέλιον θεοῦ, as well as the themes of κλητὸς / κλητοὶ and χάρις.
δοῦλος Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ,
- ἀφωρισμένος εἰς εὐαγγέλιον θεοῦ, 2 ὃ προεπηγγείλατο διὰ τῶν προφητῶν αὐτοῦ ἐν γραφαῖς ἁγίαις 3 περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ τοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ κατὰ σάρκα, 4 τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν, Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν, 5 διʼ οὗ ἐλάβομεν χάριν καὶ ἀποστολὴν εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ,
- 6 ἐν οἷς ἐστε καὶ ὑμεῖς κλητοὶ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ,
7 πᾶσιν τοῖς οὖσιν ἐν Ῥώμῃ
χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη
- ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
2017 AnticipationsAt the end of December we face a new year. Never in my 75 years have I indulged in making resolutions for the coming year. Instead, an ongoing commitment to faithfully serve the Lord moment by moment has been my sole objective. Clearly now I am nearing the end of my earthly journey, and I am excited about the possibility of it happening during the 75th year of my earthly existence. I have felt for several decades that 75 years would bring to completion of the Lord's work through the ministry He gave me in the 1950s.
As I look at what is happening and about to happen in the land of my birth, profound apprehension looms heavily before me. The insane election of an anti-Christ figure to lead the government of the US bodes nothing but exploding corruption, unbridled materialistic greed, and a narcissistic godlessness settling over the US like a poisonous smog. Perhaps the saddest part is the brain washed professing Christians who have become enslaved to this insanity, much like conservative Christianity was swept up into Nazism in the Germany of the 1920s and 30s by similar deceptive propaganda.
The prospect of a trip to Heaven before enduring much of this chaos cheers my heart greatly. And even if that trip is delayed awhile, another alternative move is beginning come into place. And that is to Lake Chapala, Mexico. Before moving to Costa Rica in 2010, we were seriously considering a move to this expat center of over 100,000 US retirees. The standard of living there is higher than in the US but for about a third of the cost. Perhaps now, that will come to pass. It all depends on the Lord's leading in what He has in store for us.
But wherever the Lord takes us in 2017, one thing is certain: we will remain unrelentingly true to our commitment to Christ. That means continual work on the BIC commentary series and expansion of cranfordville.com. And it also means passionate activism for biblical based values of righteousness, justice, and respect of all people.
So Claire and I step into 2017 with much uncertainty in the world around us and for what may happen during the year. But this is not the basis of our confidence for the future. The Lord alone will guide us and take us in His paths of service and ministry until our heavenly home going!